Neil, the younger son, was in both World Wars. His main career was with the Rhodesian Mounted Police. A most jovial lad, and a bachelor. A bit of a lad. After retiring from the Police he sold insurance policies, and about 1949 he died "out there". No children.
Neil and Bill had the bad luck of losing both parents early in life, when Neil was only about 9 or 10 years old, around 1909 or so. I saw a lot of him for a few weeks then, as he and Bill came to our house in Blythswood Drive, I think, for midday meals. He was a robust lad, cheerful, gamesome, good-looking (I hope I have not over emphasised these features in the histories!) He had a pleasant smile. Soon after he went to his maternal aunts and uncles at Brodick in Arran, or Lamlash. I do not remember seeing him again, and I think the brothers did not have much chance of seeing each other either, for War I soon broke out, and Bill was mobilised at once with the Territorials and sent off to War Stations.
We were not in quite the same age group, so we never wrote to each other. Bill and I exchanged the news of the family from our separate war fronts.
While I was on the Beachhead in Normandy many years later I had an officer patient from Rhodesia, and I asked him if he had ever heard of a member of that Police Force called Neil Mackay. He replied with a grin that he remembered him well. (How grand to be so remembered!) Neil had been a trooper, policeman, judge, referee, settler of small native disputes over some small native area. A very convivial fellow indeed. A good chap. My informant said the last news of Neil was that he had left the Police and was selling insurance policies.
My wife, Margaret, met him at Bill's wedding in the late 1920s and described him as a fascinating young chap - and very convivial! I think that like his cousin Donald Nicolson he would have been a fine fellow to have beside one in a scrap.
He was a "loner" - Frank Macdonald's word, which is not to be found in any of my dictionaries, nor even in the Slang Dictionary or its supplement.
Lately Eileen Mackay, Bill's wife, gave me Neil's War medals. The first two for the 1914-1918 war are inscribed: "S22659 Pte. N.C. Mackay. Gordons." (So he served abroad). The next, the Long Service and Good Conduct in the Colonial Police Force (George VI): "2149 Trooper N.C. Mackay". The fourth is the defence Medal for the 1939-1945 War, when the Government was too hard up to inscribe anybody's name on the medal.